Fabric hunting in South Florida

Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017,  did not begin like any other day. At 4:45 a.m., I woke up, eager to see what was happening in Hialeah, Florida, where I had an appointment with a man whose ad I had seen on Craig's list. I knew it was nearly a 5 hour drive south, and I had a fluid afternoon appointment with a coupon lady, back north about one hour. I wanted to be done playing in the fabrics, and leisurely make my way north to pick up my coupons before heading back to Dade City, whenever I got the all -important phone call that she was ready for me to pick up.

I will say that the idyllic life that you see on television in South Florida is thwarted by the sheer volume of people. Cars, vans, 8 lane highways, huge trucks moving dumpsters, road construction and lots and lots of people in a constant hurry, provide a contradictory reality to what is portrayed on the television screen.

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Nevertheless, I made my way to Miami Fabrics, after calling to let them know I was coming. Instead of a large warehouse containing neatly lined up rows of fabrics, which I had erroneously envisioned in my ideal shopping trip, I was greeted with a huge row of rolled up bolts of fabrics, each fabric look, feel and design basically indiscernible from the next.

I was standing on the floor looking up at this, wondering, "Now, how do I see what we've got here?"

Bolt after bolt of fabric all rolled up made it virtually impossible to see what I was hoping to see, which was a mini-fabric store!

Bolt after bolt of fabric all rolled up made it virtually impossible to see what I was hoping to see, which was a mini-fabric store!

 

Well, I've come this far, and my expectations were blown, so I'd better make the best of it," I told myself in comforting tones. I asked the sweet Hispanic man in as simple words as I could if he had any 100% cotton fabric. "Of course. Of course," and he takes me to these huge rolls of loosely woven red fabric, which you can see on the right.

"Up here." I could see that it appeared to be 100% cotton, but it wasn't appropriate for quilting.

I inquired, "What is that used for?" "Beach Wear," was his patient reply.

Hundreds of thousands of yards of fabric lined the walls of this 25' tall warehouse.  

Hundreds of thousands of yards of fabric lined the walls of this 25' tall warehouse.

 

 

 

"What you want to make?" I replied, "Quilts." He gave me a totally blank response, looking at his son, who was in the doorway to the tall warehouse, waiting for instructions. "Hey, what is that word?" "Say it again," he points to me. "I reply, "Quilt." Both of them look at me like I had just grown an extra arm straight out of the top of my head. I resorted to pulling out my phone, pulling up the QUILTED TWINS page, and showing some of Becky's quilts laid out on the beautiful snow (another foreign idea, I realized later.. snow in Miami?)... Anyway, I resorted to the catch all word, "Blanket." (Another foreign term, really, in Miami, where it's pretty much perpetually 80 degrees or warmer...) However, by then, he and his son did at least pretend to understand to what I was referring.

Here's the son, watching the fabric roll smoothly onto the round bolt. I never did see the spot where it returned a final inch or yard count on the bolt.

Here's the son, watching the fabric roll smoothly onto the round bolt. I never did see the spot where it returned a final inch or yard count on the bolt.

 

So, I decided to locate something that I could use, even if it wasn't for the QUILTED TWINS site or for Becky's quilts. I picked out something on a roll -- in fact, a couple of somethings on a rolled up bolt. So, the man had his son go to the fancy fabric measuring machine, where he rolled all my fabrics up on the same bolt.

 

I made a video, and I'm hoping to put it in here... I've never seen a machine that rolled up fabrics before. I thought you might enjoy it.

 

I kept looking, moving fabrcis around, shoving things to the side, and feeling, feeling, feeling, until I found a few more things that we could use.

Here's the son measuring off my BINGO fabric, which would be perfect for any BINGO enthusiasts!

Here's the son measuring off my BINGO fabric, which would be perfect for any BINGO enthusiasts!

After I finished up, paid, loaded up the van, I decided to go get some "retail therapy," and see what I could find. However, after my third or fourth second hand shop and very little success, I decided to call it a day of shopping and get back to my task at hand.

The problem was that I had moved into a more upscale region of South Florida and the thrift shops looked more like fancy boutiques, and their prices reflected it. Yes, this was a second hand shop!

 

I knew I was in trouble, when I stepped inside the Hospice store and was greeted with a gorgeous setup and no mess at all.
"There won't be any surprises or finds in this one," I thought to myself.
 

But, I did find this gorgeous antique Singer sewing machine. If anyone is interested, I can dig up the address of the store where this was. Nothing looked like it was moving too well in this particular thrift store.

 

I had spotted another thrift store across the street, so I escaped from the boutique one and went to one that was crammed. It was crammed so tightly with stuff that there was no way to step back and get a good picture for you. When I found these double knits for $8 for a scrap, I knew that I was in trouble. If I had found some good cottons, they'd want high retail. The problem was, that they were located next to an upholstery shop and the owners probably thought all fabrics sold for $25/yard and up!

 

But, I did find the Singer sewing machine below. However,  it was $119, which is just barely below retail. I hate thrift shops that cost right at nearly retail on stuff like this. There's no warranty, no guarantee that all the pieces are there and the box was opened. I thought it should have been right around $45.. not $119.
 

When I had driven up, this is what I was greeted with. I was soo excited, that for a moment, the thrift store next door left my mind.

Especially when I saw the "up to 80 off" on the window.

However, eagerness quickly dissipated when I realized it was an upholstery store, and they regularly charge $25 to $39.99 per yard for that stuff, and I see it all the time at yard sales or estate sales for $1 a yard or less, and no one... I mean, NO ONE.. wants it!

A sign like this will get you you excited, if you're a bargain hunter, like I am. But... I was dismally disappointed once I peered into the window and saw the prices per yard.  

A sign like this will get you you excited, if you're a bargain hunter, like I am. But... I was dismally disappointed once I peered into the window and saw the prices per yard.

 

Consequently, after seeing sale fabrics at $12.99 and $14.99 a yard, I decided NOT to darken the door, and get the potential store owner thinking I might be interested, I decided to head out of there and get back to my coupons!

So, I got into my van and ended my bargain shopping.

I did find a few goodies, which I'll show you here! These were all found at the Miami Fabrics Store that I came to first!

Just a day in the life of fabric bargain shopping!

--ENJOY

A really cool cowboy print  

A really cool cowboy print

 

For the Bingo lover out there.

For the Bingo lover out there.

We are going to Hawaii in March! I bought this for something for me... probably I'll make it later! We're too busy getting Quilted Twins off the ground to have time to sew!

We are going to Hawaii in March! I bought this for something for me... probably I'll make it later! We're too busy getting Quilted Twins off the ground to have time to sew!

Robert Kaufman prints!

Robert Kaufman prints!

Hoffman International Fabrics.

Hoffman International Fabrics.

He just rolled them all up on the same spindle. And the tied pile of green fabrics is something he gave me because he wants me to try to make something out of it! Any one who wants to try? Just comment below and you can be eligible to win it. We'll draw a lucky winner on Feb. 1. Just post pictures on the site when you get something made, so I can show him we tried! It's a whole variety of the same type of fabrics -- a bit stretchy, but you could quilt with it.

He just rolled them all up on the same spindle. And the tied pile of green fabrics is something he gave me because he wants me to try to make something out of it!

Any one who wants to try? Just comment below and you can be eligible to win it. We'll draw a lucky winner on Feb. 1.

Just post pictures on the site when you get something made, so I can show him we tried! It's a whole variety of the same type of fabrics -- a bit stretchy, but you could quilt with it.

These are the ones that he gave me... it's 100% cotton, but it's a stretchy cotton... and plenty of fabric if any one wants to try to do something. It'd be fun to see what you could do! Just comment below that you'd like it. We'll have a drawing on Feb. 1 from among those who want it and declare a winner. Make sure we have a way to contact you!  We can only ship to the USA..

These are the ones that he gave me... it's 100% cotton, but it's a stretchy cotton... and plenty of fabric if any one wants to try to do something. It'd be fun to see what you could do!

Just comment below that you'd like it. We'll have a drawing on Feb. 1 from among those who want it and declare a winner. Make sure we have a way to contact you!  We can only ship to the USA..

And while you are here...feel free to take a few moments to check out what fat quarters we currently have available for you!  And only $5 flat rate shipping!

Then don't' forget to comment if the stretchy brights/white fabric interests you.

 

Updated Feb. 1 about 12:15 EST -   and our winner is Shanna!  I will be contacting you to get your address!

 

Rachael Woodard23 Comments